Glacier Park Collection

Since opening in 1927, the iconic Prince of Wales hotel has offered a slice of history to guests from around the globe. Sometimes, however, that history sticks around.

Ghost stories have been passed down from one generation of Prince of Wales bellhops to the next, creating a treasured tradition of sharing the stories with guests in the lobby of the hotel after sunset. While the stories come with their skeptics — “It was just the wind” is a particularly valid explanation in Waterton Lakes National Park — legends take on a life of their own in the Prince of Wales.

Now the hotel’s general manager, Bronson Albano first took part in the tradition when he joined the team back in 2014 as a front desk agent. In his first year, he added a ghost story of his own to the mix during his first week of night audits. Here, Albano shares his “believe it or not” story:

There I am in my first year at the Prince of Wales hotel. We didn't have a full-time night auditor, so we each had to pay our dues. Being the keener that I was — and wanting to get it out of the way — I volunteered for the first rotation. 

So it's my first night. I'm in this big old hotel. I've heard stories of ghosts. And it’s just me, along with a security guard who makes occasional rounds. About 2 or 3 a.m. is when the night audit rolls for the evening, and you can have your lunch or dinner. To get to the employee dining room, you have to walk through the lobby, then through the dining room, then through the kitchen, which leads you to the employee dining room.

Interior of Prince of Wales' lobby.

I'm off on my merry way. I leave the front desk and go through the lobby. But when I'm passing the dining room, I smell smoke. I run into the kitchen to ensure all the appliances are off — I don't want the place to burn down on the first day under my watch. So, I check the stoves, I check the oven, I check a few other things and everything's off. I have my dinner and I'm happy. I go back to work and I finished my shift.

Second night — I'm on night audit again. Audit rolls and I go for my dinner. I leave the front desk, go through the lobby and into the dining room. I smell the smoke again. So I run back into the kitchen and I check a few other things to make sure everything's off. I check the stove and the ovens, but this time I also check the heat lamps, the salamander broiler, the bake shop, I even check the dishwasher area — everything to find where the smell was coming from, but nothing. So I go into the dining room again, but I realize it doesn't smell like typical fire smoke... 

Around 5 a.m., when the kitchen staff start to come in to prepare for their day, I ask the sous chef, "Are you guys leaving something on at night? Because I keep coming through the dining room and I smell smoke, like something's burning." 

“Was anything on in the kitchen?” he asked.

“No, I've checked everything.” I said.

Then he asked, “Did it smell like fire smoke?”

Noting the coincidence, I again told him, “No.”

“Well,” he said “You must have had a run in with our dining room ghost. He looks like Abraham Lincoln, wears a top hat and smokes a pipe."

A heat lamp hanging inside.

My great-grandfather smoked a pipe. So, when he mentioned it, I realized it really did smell like pipe tobacco. The chef told me that the story is that if you smell smoke, you can look in the window and you'll see the ghost’s reflection, sitting in a chair and smoking his pipe. Some say it’s the ghost of Captain Rodden S. Harrison, the hotel’s first manager, who often enjoyed an after-dinner smoke."

The next night, the audit rolls. Here we go again. I have to walk through this dining room at 3 a.m. Nobody in the hotel. It's dark, and it’s scary. So I leave the front desk, I walk through the lobby, and then I begin through the dining room. And there it is — I smell the smoke. I stop and the hairs stand up on the back of my neck.

I put my hand over my eyes and I beelined it through that dining room. Because I did not want to look into the window to see the reflection. After that, I walked outside and around the building to get to the employee dining room. I refused to walk through the building for the rest of the season.

Book your stay at the Prince of Wales today and hear more paranormal tales from the bellhop team. Who knows — you may even leave with a ghost story of your very own...

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